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Integration Of Service Learning Into Civil And Environmental Engineering Curriculum

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Innovations in CE Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.808.1 - 10.808.12



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Paper Authors

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Thomas Piechota

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Shashi Nambisan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integration of Service-Learning into Civil and Environmental Engineering Curriculum

Thomas Piechota, Shashi Nambisan

Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas 4505 Maryland Parkway, Box 454015, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4015,

Introduction Service-learning is defined as integrating the community service experience of students with their academic study so that learning is enhanced1. The level of student participation in community service is at an all time high as students feel the need to confront today's technical and societal problems2. However, service-learning is more than community service or volunteerism. Service-learning as defined above, integrates the community service experience with the student’s academic study (note the hyphen in "service-learning" means that both are considered equal). This enhances learning which is a fundamental goal of colleges and universities. Boyer3 highlights the need for service-learning stating that "At no time in our history has the need been greater for connecting the work of the academy to the social and environmental changes beyond the campus." Service-learning is a campus wide learning pedagogy including a range of disciplines and has been implemented at over 600 institutions1; however, not as widely implemented in engineering and science. A noteworthy contribution in the engineering education, is the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program at Purdue University ( that partners undergraduate students and local community not-for-profit organizations to solve engineering-based problems in the community

Service-learning is a type of experiential education where the students learn through "real-world" experiences that meet a community’s needs4. In the engineering curriculum, other forms of experiential learning include projects, clinics, internships, laboratory classes, field trips. Moreover, service-learning promotes student understanding of the impact of engineering solutions in a global/societal context, a requirement in the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) new Engineering Criteria (EC) 2000 ( Through service- learning, students experience the greater sense of belonging and responsibility to a larger community. Other features of EC 2000 that service-learning addresses are: the ability to function in multidisciplinary teams; an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility; and an ability to communicate effectively4. Service-learning projects should be selected so that a community need is met for groups with specific needs pertinent to the desired learning experiences. Such groups include community organizations, public schools (K-12), or local and state agencies. The feeling of being empowered to address issues of concern and relevance to society, and being responsible for the same, enhances the students’ perception of the value (and significance / relevance) of applying their knowledge and expertise. In turn, this promotes better learning and understanding of information from their other curricular activities. This paper

Proceeding of the 2005 American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society of Engineering Education

Piechota, T., & Nambisan, S. (2005, June), Integration Of Service Learning Into Civil And Environmental Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15096

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